Though labeled "Volume 6," Icarus is the first Detective collection by the superstar creative team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato after their run on Flash. The issues collected within (#30-34 and Annual #3) were published within the New 52, as were the issues that will be collected in Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 7: Anarky (presumably issues #35-40) -- but, Manapul and Buccellato will remain as Detective Comics's creative team after Convergence in the new, post-New 52 DC Universe.
Which begs the question: Is this a special trade dress just to celebrate Manapul and Buccellato's arrival on Detective, or are we looking at the new trade dress for DC's post-Convergence collections, launched a little early and "grandfathering in" those books whose creative teams continue post-Convergence?
Photo by Aleks Ivic
By my calculation, the next "main universe" series to see collection (excluding collections of older comics, etc.) is Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral two weeks from now in the first week of June (followed the next week by both the hardcover and paperback of Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside). Barring official word from DC, that'd be our next indication of whether this is a one-series or line-wide change.
Prior to the New 52, the DC Comics collections trade dress tended to have some commonality by series or storyline, but varied wildly from series to series. Front covers had logos and some image, back covers had images and text, but the spines might have little graphics of the characters at the top or middle, or not at all, and the character and book title broken up by an image or all together. About the only thing that was consistent, especially most recently, was the DC Comics logo that ran across the bottom of the books.
Photo by James Harvey-Richardson
With the New 52, almost all DC trades had essentially uniform spines -- some block of color at the top, then a black background with the full book name, maybe the name of the creators, then the volume number, then the DC logo. As the images show, this allowed for a variety of different New 52 series to be lined up side by side and still more or less look "uniform."
The new Detective trade dress is certainly attractive, no doubt, and seems to take its cues from what came before. The volume numbers and DC logo still essentially line up with the New 52 volumes, but the fonts are different, the background color here is purple, and there's a character image (Batman here, in blue) at the top. Again, we'll have to see some additional volumes before we can determine how this will vary from book to book.
Photos by James Harvey-Richardson
This would seem as much a matter of good timing as anything else -- the new Detective team, getting their first collection right now, gets the new trade dress, but Action Comics team Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder's first collection has the old trade dress (at least in hardcover), as will continuing series like Geoff Johns's Justice League.
Change isn't bad, I don't think, and I appreciate that DC's new trade dress, if that's what it is, resembles the old while moving toward the new. What do you think? Would you like the Detective Comics design to become DC's new trade dress going forward?